Last Legislative Update: What Bills Were Signed, Vetoed, or Never Got that Far
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The California 2021-22 legislative session is over, and all the bills have either been signed or vetoed . Governor Newsom signed 997 bills and vetoed 169 of them – which, said the governor in a press release, “saved the state billions in taxpayer dollars.”
Below is an update on bills related to bicycle and pedestrian safety, public transit, and climate that Streetsblog has been tracking, including a recap of some of the ones that never got to the governor – those are marked .
ACTIVE TRANSPORTATION & TRAFFIC SAFETY
Safe Street Crossings: A.B. 2147, Assemblymember Phil Ting. The “Freedom to Walk” act does not fully decriminalize “jaywalking,” despite the what the click-bait headlines say – but it does prohibit police from giving people tickets for crossing where it is obviously safe to do so, even without the “safety” of a painted crosswalk.
Bicycle Omnibus: A.B. 1909, Assemblymember Laura Friedman. Prohibits mandatory bike registration requirements, requires drivers to change lanes if possible when passing bikes, clarifies that bikes are allowed to cross with a pedestrian “walk” signal, and prevents cities from prohibiting e-bikes in bike lanes.
Pedestrian Head Start: A.B. 2264, Assemblymember Richard Bloom. Requires Caltrans and cities to update all pedestrian control signals to give pedestrians a head start at intersections.
CEQA Exemptions for Bike, Ped, Transit Projects: S.B. 922, Senator Scott Wiener. Extends existing exemptions under state environmental law for projects that clearly have minimal environmental impact, as long as they don’t include capacity increases for cars.
E-bike Incentive Program: A.B. 117, Assemblymember Tasha Boerner Horvath. Would have made the e-bike incentive program permanent and eligible for ongoing funding, similar to several programs for electric cars. Last year’s state budget set aside $10 million to create the e-bike incentive program – which is still being formulated – and vetoing this bill threatens to make it a one-time-only opportunity for a few people.
The “Kill Bike-Share Bill”: A.B. 371, Assemblymember Jones-Sawyer. CalBike argued strongly that this bill, which imposes extreme insurance requirements on shared scooter companies beyond what is required for private car owners, sets a dangerous precedent and could bring an end to scooter- and bike-share in California.
Speed Limits: A.B. 1938, Friedman. Further loosens the 85th percentile rule used to set speed limits by allowing cities to round speed limits down. It also exempts local speed limits that are lowered within this new rule from the definition of “speed trap,” thus guaranteeing they are enforceable.
Tax Breaks for Living Car-Light: S.B. 457, Senator Anthony Portantino. Would have offered a tax break of $1000 to lower-income households that don’t own cars.
Traffic Calming and Active Transportation Plans: S.B. 932, Portantino. Requires cities to incorporate the Safe System – aka Vision Zero – principles within their general plans.
Stop-as-Yield: Assemblymember Tasha Boerner Horvath pulled A.B. 1713 before it was sent to the governor when he indicated that he would have vetoed it.
Speed Cameras: A.B. 2336, Friedman and Ting. Would have created a pilot program to deploy speed cameras in specific cities on high-injury corridors, with strict rules about how citations would be issued and where any fines would go.
Electric Bicycle Safety and Training Program: A.B. 1946, Boerner Horvath. Requires the CHP to develop a statewide safety and training program for e-bike riders “to be posted on the CHP website.”
Safety Courses for TNC Drivers: A.B. 2716, Assemblymember Tim Grayson. Newsom called this attempt to require Uber, Lyft, and other TNC drivers to complete a safety course “redundant.”
Youth Pass Pilot: A.B. 1919, Assemblymember Chris Holden. This would have created a statewide pilot to provide grants to transit agencies so they can provide free transit for youth. “Too much money,” according to Newsom.
Existing Free and Reduced Fare Programs: S.B. 942, Senator Josh Newman. Eliminates a requirement that a transit agency prove that continuing an existing fare-free program would reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
Coordinating Bay Area Transit Agencies: S.B. 917, Senator Josh Becker. This would have required the 27 different Bay Area transit agencies to collaborate on making transit a seamless experience for riders, including consistent fares and transfer payments, standardized mapping and signage, and open data systems.
Faster Bus Service on the Bay Bridge: A.B. 455, Assemblymember Buffy Wicks. Would have required MTC to establish speed and reliability performance targets for buses on the clogged Bay Bridge, and to suggest strategies for reaching them.
Transit Fare for Jury Duty: A.B. 1981, Assemblymember Alex Lee. Allows jurors to be reimbursed for using public transportation and creates a pilot program to increase juror compensation.
Align Transportation Funding with Climate Goals: A.B. 2438, Friedman. Would have required state and locally funded transportation projects to help meet goals of the California Transportation Plan (CTP) and the Climate Action Plan for Transportation Infrastructure (CAPTI), in keeping with legislative reports on how most of California’s transportation funding undermines its climate work.
No Parking Minimums Near Transit: A.B. 2097, Friedman. Prohibits cities from imposing any minimum parking requirements on projects close to quality transit stops/stations.
Parking Cash-Out: A.B. 2206, Lee. Beefs up requirements that employers who provide free parking offer a similar cash subsidy to employees who choose not to drive to work.
Buffer Zones Around Oil Wells: S.B. 1137, Senator Lena Gonzalez. Defines “health protection zones” as 3,200 feet surrounding oil wells and prohibits new wells within that distance of “sensitive uses,” including schools, hospitals, and housing. In 2024, existing oil wells would have to comply with stricter rules on emissions, venting, noise, public notice, and chemical analysis of water.
The California Climate Crisis Act: A.B. 1279, Assemblymembers Al Muratsuchi and Cristina Garcia. Sets a higher and more urgent target for eliminating greenhouse gas emissions in California, specifically aiming for “net zero ghg emissions as soon as possible, but no later than 2045.”
Climate Corporate Accountability Act: S.B. 260, Senator Scott Wiener. This failed on the Assembly floor by one vote. It would simply have required large corporations in California to publicly disclose their carbon footprint.
No New Freeways Through Disadvantaged Communities: A.B. 1778, Cristina Garcia. Would have prohibited Caltrans from spending money on freeway widening projects through communities impacted by pollution and displacement. It was killed in the Senate Transportation Committee.